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State v. Fuller

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

August 31, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MAKA FULLER, JR.

          Assigned on Briefs August 1, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Madison County No. 16-111 Donald H. Allen, Judge

         A Madison County jury convicted the Defendant, Maka Fuller, Jr., of aggravated robbery. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him to eleven years in prison. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction because he did not use a weapon to accomplish the robbery. Finding that there is sufficient evidence to support the Defendant's conviction for aggravated robbery, we affirm the trial court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed

          George Morton Googe, District Public Defender; and Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maka Fuller, Jr.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert W. Wedemeyer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER, JUDGE.

         I. Facts

         This case arises from a robbery at an automatic teller machine (ATM) in Madison County, Tennessee. For his role in this offense, a grand jury indicted the Defendant for aggravated robbery. At a trial on the charge, the parties presented the following evidence: Zellier Price, the victim, testified that on October 18, 2015, she was at the Regions Bank "a little bit after 6:00 [p.m.]." The victim was at the drive-thru ATM making multiple withdrawals. She conducted the transactions through her car window while remaining seated in the driver's seat of her car. As she finished her final transaction, the Defendant approached her car and said he was going to rob her. She had earlier noticed the Defendant walking on the sidewalk nearby and was surprised to see him standing by her car window. She recalled the Defendant's mouth was covered, and his right hand was "wrapped up like it was a gun." The victim testified that she believed the Defendant was holding a gun and that she was afraid she would be killed.

         The victim testified that the money she had retrieved from the ATM was lying in her lap. The Defendant repeated his intent to rob her and then reached inside the car with his left hand and took the $80.00 that was on the victim's lap. The victim said that, as this occurred, she pressed the accelerator and "crushed [the front bumper of her] car." The victim drove across the street and asked if anyone had witnessed the robbery, but no one had. She notified the police of the robbery and provided a description of the robber.

         The victim testified that she was not physically hurt during the robbery but was "shaken up really bad." Once she returned home, she contacted a friend whose nephew worked at the bank. Through him, she learned that the bank had cameras on their ATM. The victim viewed the surveillance footage of the robbery and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of her interaction with the Defendant.

         The surveillance footage depicts the victim conducting transactions at the ATM. The Defendant appears from rear of the vehicle with a white cloth wrapped around his right hand. He sticks the wrapped hand in the car at the victim while covering his face with a shirt with his left hand. The Defendant then reaches in the car with his left hand and appears to grab something and exits toward the rear of the car as the car lurches forward.

         On cross-examination, the victim agreed that she told a police officer that the Defendant had something in his hand that he was pointing at her, but she was "not sure" if it was a weapon. She confirmed that she could not tell what the Defendant held in his hand but that it looked like a gun. She agreed that she never saw a gun but that the Defendant was pointing whatever he had in his right hand "acting like it was a gun." On redirect ...


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